Ukraine, Cohen, Manafort Pardon: 3 Stories You Should Read 11/29/2018
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In the category of: Obstruction is plain sight marches on.
Trump’s move — delivered in an interview with the New York Post on Wednesday — is more than just an effort to show mercy to a former associate. It is the latest sign of an increasingly aggressive effort to define the end game of the investigation with what looks more and more like an effort to use his presidential power to protect himself.
Trump’s latest maneuvering came amid indications that Mueller’s team, after a hiatus in midterm election season, is accelerating toward a pivotal moment in an investigation that has cast a cloud over Trump’s presidency.
As always with the President, it is difficult to decipher whether his comments represent a clear intent to act or are a case of a volatile personality blowing off steam in a way that does not meet accepted standards for someone who could be in legal jeopardy.
But Trump appears to be making a significant gamble. His pardon comments could be interpreted as another bid to thwart Mueller’s investigation into election interference in plain sight — even as he is himself a subject of the special counsel’s obstruction of justice inquiries.
In the category of: Cohen falls on his sword and gets nothing for doing it.
Trump’s former personal attorney pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about his contacts with Russia for a Trump Tower project during the 2016 campaign.
President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty Thursday morning in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation for lying to Congress during private testimony last year about the timing and extent of his discussions about a Russian real estate deal during Trump’s campaign.
Cohen’s cooperation with Mueller’s investigation marks an extraordinary development, as he has long been a key figure, given his role in Trump’s businesses and as his fixer.
According to court documents, Mueller’s team has focused on Cohen’s role in Trump’s business dealings, particularly a Trump Tower project in Moscow during the 2016 campaign. Cohen lied about the timing of his discussions with Russian officials about the potential real estate deal. Last year, he told the House intelligence committee that the talks ended in January 2016, before the presidential primaries. But, according to court documents, he continued talks “as late as approximately June 2016,” before Trump became the GOP nominee, discussing the deal several times with Trump and briefing Trump’s family members.
In the category of: Notice they aren’t asking the U.S. for help…
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko hopes NATO will deploy warships to Sea of Azov as tension with Russia worsens.
Poroshenko’s remarks, part of a concerted push by Kiev at gaining Western support for more sanctions against Russia, were published in an interview with German newspaper, Bild, on Thursday.
In a sharp response, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said the comment was “clearly aimed at provoking further tensions” and driven by Poroshenko’s “electoral and domestic policy motives”.
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